Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome to the 1st Grade!

"Sweet Dreams"
It is hard to believe, but Bennett entered the first grade this year!  She grew up a lot this summer, and was looking forward to her new adventure.  We attended "Meet the Teacher" last week (I forgot to take a photo of her with Ms. Werner), and she received a packet of information from her teacher.  Included was this sweet little note that she was to open last night.
As expected for the first day of school, Bennett slept later than she has for the past several weeks, and required me to wake her up at 7:00 so she could get ready in time.  We made it out the door in time, and arrived at Shades Cahaba early so she could pose for several photos.

With friends, Mary Martin and Harper (who is in her class this year)

And as we did last year, here are several of the little brothers who will all be going to kindergarten at SCE next year!

George, Luke, Pres and Batch

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ice Skating

As summer wraps up, we are still trying to do some fun activities on our list.  Since we had nothing planned today, we decided to surprise the kids with something skating!  As we pulled into the parking lot, the kids tried to guess where we were: movie theater, museum, who knows.   Once we walked in and showed the kids the ice rink, Preston's face lit up!  He smiled huge and hugged me immediately.  He was super excited!

We got the kids into their skates, and Steve tentatively headed out onto the ice with the kids.  Since I didn't want to risk falling and hurting myself (and the baby), I stayed on the sidelines and took photos and cheered them on. 

At first they were both a little timid and afraid to hurt themselves (they both fell within seconds of hitting the ice), but after 20 minutes they were trying to make it around the rink by themselves.

Pres was soaking wet from falling so many times, but he always had a smile on his face, and he kept getting braver and eventually moved away from the exterior wall.  It took Bennett a little longer to feel that confident, but she got there too.

Fortunately the rink only has open skate for two hours at a time, which ended up being a perfect amount of time for the kids.  Towards the end, Pres took a pretty good fall, banging his head on the ice.  It took him out for about 5-10 minutes, but he was determined to not end on that note, and went back out again before the time was up. 
"Look Mom, I'm not falling"
Fun with Daddy
We then stayed to watch the Zamboni clean the ice before the hockey players came out.  Preston was fascinated by all of the gear and techniques of the hockey players.  We finally convinced them to leave by promising them a bubble bath to relax their little bodies once they got home.
Warming up B in between skating
Bubble Bath (Beckham wanted in so badly)
Today, they have asked several times each when they can go back.  They had a ball!  Looks like we'll be heading back to the rink shortly.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I am over the moon excited to announce our newest addition to our family....Beckham!  After losing Spencer, I mourned him and then just mourned the change to our family without a pet.  Our house was so much quieter, there was no one barking at the front door when I came home, no poop to pick up in the yard, no slobber on my glass doors to wash, and no one to snuggle with when Steve was away traveling.  Many of these things were not appealing to Steve, and he did not want the "burden" of another pet, especially with the baby coming.  But my heart and mind felt differently.

Shortly after we lost Spence, Steve started "the talks" about how we are not getting another dog.  He was really worried that he would be away on a business trip, and he would come home to a new dog.  I tried to explain that I would never change our family like that without discussing it with him first, but I guess he didn't believe me.  We went weeks without a dog, but I just couldn't get over the changes.  So I started browsing the web for local breeders, even completed an application to adopt a weimaraner from the southeast weim rescue, but nothing panned out.

I finally found a couple of litters that were due to go home in the Fall, so I thought I would readdress the topic with Steve.  I explained that he married me when I owned two weims, and he couldn't expect me to go without a dog for a year or two.  Then I rationalized how if we got a puppy now (prior to the baby's arrival), we could get it crate trained and a little older (and hopefully better behaved).  I promised to be the caretaker, and fortunately had two small cheerleaders backing my decision.  He ultimately caved!

Before I sent off any deposits, I did more research.  I guess it was meant to be because the chips fell into place, and I found a breeder an hour away with a litter that was ready to go home late July.  So I packed up the kids one afternoon and we drove over to inspect the mom and dad and puppies.  They were only 4 weeks old, and we fell in love with several.  It was a tough choice, but we finally selected a little male with a white marking on his chest.

He came from a huge litter, and they really all looked the same, but his white marking reminded me of a previous weim I had, Palmer, and he was easy to distinguish from the rest.  Though we could have picked him up at 6 weeks, we knew we were heading to the beach for a week, so the breeder offered to keep him until we returned.

We put a deposit down on him, and drove home discussing names.  We ultimately decided to keep his purchase a secret, as we were afraid everyone would think we were crazy for getting a puppy so soon, and with the baby coming.  The kids did great, and really kept it to themselves.  Over dinner for the next couple of weeks, we discussed potential names.  It was down to Cooper and Beckham, and Pres was adamant about the latter.  Though the surprise was ruined at the beach (thanks to Pres) worked out perfectly.

When we departed the beach on Saturday, we drove straight to Tuscaloosa to pick him up.  He was the last puppy there, and looked pitiful in the pen by himself.  We immediately kissed him and Bennett was anxious to hold him on the way home.  I didn't want to fight my own daughter to hold him, but believe me....I wanted too.

Once we got home, we played with him in the backyard and let him inspect his new home.  He was introduced to a few folks, and then we got settled into a new routine.  The first night was rough, as he didn't like his kennel, nor being left by himself in the laundry room.  But once we moved his kennel into our bedroom, he began sleeping better. 

We are almost at a week now, and he has learned to enjoy his kennel, well maybe not "enjoy," but he doesn't whine when he is in there like he did initially.  He does awesome holding it at night, only getting up once.  Now if we can just get him into a similar routine for the day....

Pres cuddling him on his dog bed
Unfortunately, Beckham hasn't learned to fully empty his bladder when he is let out.  He will go a little EVERY time we let him out, even if it is every 30 minutes.  We thought about keeping him inside for longer stretches, but then accidents were happening.  Frustrated, but I knew this would happen, so I am trying to be patient.  Supposedly, puppies can only hold it for as many months that they are, plus three hours for him currently.  He is definitely doing that at night, so perhaps when he is just takes more time.

Bennett has been a GREAT help with him.  She takes him out right when she wakes up, watches him closely so he doesn't potty inside, and takes over whenever I am doing something else.  Preston, on the other hand, doesn't like any responsibility. 

Even Steve fell in love with the little guy

He is definitely feeling more comfortable here though, and has won all of our hearts.  We now look forward to getting through the next two months, when he will be fully vaccinated and we can take him on walks to burn off this energy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

One Last Beach Trip

The kids LOVED the private pool!
Our family has had an awesome year, traveling to the beach several times so far, but we had one last hurrah planned with my family!  It was a trip that we had been looking forward to all summer long.  We were going with my brother and his family, as well as my parents.  Though we were going much later in the summer than I would choose, it was my parents first real trip to panhandle and we wanted to make sure they had a fabulous time.

Brian and Lucy doing the "linebacker"
Steve and I researched homes all along 30A, and ultimately selected a home one street away from Rosemary Beach (our favorite area).  It was about 1.5 blocks off the beach, so an easy walk for all of us and was a very short bike ride to all of our favorite restaurants, bars, parks and activities!  The house had four bedrooms, all with attached baths, two living spaces, a huge wrap around deck and a private it worked out perfectly for our growing family.

Unfortunately, it has been a very wet summer, so we didn't know what to expect from a weather aspect.  However, mother nature spared us, and it only rained a half a day and sprinkled a little a couple other days.  In addition, the water was awesome all week, with the exception of one day.
Brian holding one of our crabs
Kids crabbing...catching little ones with their hands!

We started our trip with an awesome shrimp boil!  We even had special matron of honor, Kris Viguerie, and her family.  It was awesome to see her after several years, and for us to meet each other's children.
Kris and me with our kids

The best part of our trip is just being together and watching all of the kids together.  They really love each other.  As they get older, I see more and more similarities between them too.  Pres and Christian are such competitive, active little boys.  And Bennett and Henley couldn't be more different from them.  They are both more dramatic, and little caregivers to each other and Lucy.

The kids at the Sugar Shak!
Two cuties!
Fun on the Beach...notice the mermaid tales?
Splash pad!
Nighttime fun!
Steve, my engineer, loves to build sand castles with the kids
Playing games on the iPads
The girls...two peas in a pod

Nene and Poppy with their grandchildren

Steve's goal was to hold Lucy without her crying
Showing me their tongues after snow cones

Body surfing

Date night at Caliza

Inspecting the hermit crabs we caught
Last night, family dinner

We started most days with a morning bike ride, and then headed to the beach.  The kids alternated between the pool and beach, but it never was a problem since we had so many adults.  We visited area parks, went crabbing, hunted shells, built sand castles, road waves, did a lot of swimming, played games, went out to eat a few nights and visited sno-balls, the sugar shak and cool candy...the kid's favorite dessert hangouts.  We packed a lot in for seven days, and our kids were exhausted when they came home.

Thank you to my parents for an awesome trip!
our only family pic, not good, but it will do